Travel, Reading, and Rest

Last week, my family treated me to a lovely few days in London and Barcelona. In London we stayed at the Savoy hotel. I did not leave the hotel at all during that trip, because staying in a five-star hotel may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, especially given the fact that I am a philosophy major. During my day there I got an exfoliating facial, and then ate some cookies. For my standards, that was a perfect day.

Then, in Barcelona we stayed at the Mercer Hotel in the Gothic quarter. Gorgeous narrow streets, tapas restaurants, and cathedrals highlight this area. The hotel was a mix of new-concept architecture built into the ancient roman that remain in this area.

Casa Batlló, designed by Gaudí.

If I could recommend one place to visit in Europe for a vacation type trip, I would say go to Barcelona. Not only is it warm there (it was probably high-60s and sunny on my last day there), but the food is delicious, and the people are incredibly beautiful and friendly.

Grandma enjoyed the tapas and scenery.

To cap off an extravagant trip, My dad and I went to a Barcelona game. To see Messi, arguably the best player ever, from maybe ten rows up at the halfway line was certainly a highlight of my life. I am not a Barcelona fan, especially after they beat my beloved Chelsea a few days prior, but to see Messi play was a treat, and I am happy to say that I was able to see him. He scored an amazing goal, too. It was like watching Michael Jordan or Roger Federer. Awe-inspiring greatness is not something you see everyday.

At Heathrow on my way to Barcelona I ran into retired Barcelona legend Carles Puyol, and he was nice enough to take a picture with me. Also, I ran into a guy I went to high school with on a street in Barcelona. It is a small world.

Retired Barcelona captain Carles Puyol.

Now I am back in Oxford and feeling refreshed. I have about a month until Trinity term begins, so I still have a decent amount of time. I have been spending my time reading, watching Netflix, and exercising. I watched the entire second season of Stranger Things in a night a few days ago. I am also spending more time in the Radcliffe Camera, which is where I am now. It is nice to have time for pleasure reading again. I have already read a few books this break.

The ceiling of the Radcliffe Camera.

On Thursday I go to Dublin to visit my friends at Trinity. I look forward to the Guinness.


7th and 8th Week – End of Hilary Term

I am two-thirds of the way done with my studies at the University of Oxford. An overall successful term comes to a close, and I am excited to sleep, and perhaps travel, for the next six weeks.

Walking by “Logic Lane” on the way to Merton College.

In the news the other day, Sir Roger Bannister, a former Oxford academic and doctor, as well as the first man to run a sub-four-minute mile, passed away. He achieved this record at the Iffley track that is directly next to the tennis courts that I use. Even when you least suspect it, there is history wherever you go.

Speaking of history, it truly was a pleasure taking the Wars of the Roses tutorial at Oxford. If any of you ever have the opportunity to do so, no matter what you study, I could not recommend it more.

Oxford itself possesses influences from the Wars of the Roses. At Merton College, where I took my history class for the last five weeks, there is a Henry VII crest on the stone archway next to the entrance of our building. Our lecturer pointed this out to us on our first day. A king from the fifteenth century has his crest on a college that originated in the thirteenth century, and I am studying here in the twenty-first century.

Being at Oxford is awe-inspiring to say the least.